Hello 5F Farm Friends and Family,
This year is definitely a strange one and, with the holidays coming up, it will undoubtedly continue that trend. From civil unrest to pandemics, many people are torn between staying safe and seeing loved ones that they haven't seen since last year or longer. Those cozy nights telling stories, playing games and eating homemade family dishes may be a dream for those who have resigned themselves to be alone this holiday season whether it be for their health or work or them just trying to do their part to slow down the plague that has been ravaging us this year. We want to reach out to those people and let them know, we appreciate their sacrifices and perseverance. So, in light of everything, we wanted to offer some suggestions that might ease all of us into holidays, take a load off those fighters backs, and remind us that we are never truly alone.
Respect Everyone or Leave: There is a not-so-invisible sign above our entry gate to the farms that states just this but, it goes beyond just at our farms. It is important to respect the decisions of your family and friends now more than ever. Some will want to stay isolated or limit contact, others will still want to do a gathering. Those in the former group aren't being cold or fearful nor are they still thinking about that questionable comment you made during Thanksgiving last year. Instead, they have decided that this is the best way to keep their friends, family and themselves safe. Those in the latter may be realizing that family is more important than whatever they have been dedicating themselves to. Whatever they've been putting before them, they are putting it to the side and showing support for someone who does not take isolation well or love to those who have been around them all along. Whatever the reason, most people aren't going out of the way to harm anyone intentionally. It's important to understand that both groups are trying to do their best with the hands we've been dealt this year.
You are NEVER alone: Whether you are opting for isolation or playing the host, it is important to remember the tools you have at your disposal to combat the mental stress that isolation induces. We have an advantage over our predecessors who endured the Spanish Flu. We have Data. If you have a family member that is remaining home this year, e-mail them that recipe for their favorite cranberry sauce or video chat while they bake that pumpkin pie. Even the smallest of actions will be well received. If you or your family live in an area where data isn't the best: a handwritten postcard is a very personal gift. If you have a family member who isn't able to cook for themselves or has a health issue that would make it dangerous for them to participate in festivities and who lives nearby consider plating some of that delicious meal and having it hand-delivered before the party starts. You could leave a note with their caregiver or talk to them while social distancing. Every little gesture counts and shows appreciation to those around you.
Have a Plan : Running an event center poses a unique challenge to us when we book gatherings. On one hand, we want everyone to be safe and healthy and, on the other, we want people to be full of life and have fun. After all there are only so many times you can watch all 10 seasons of Friends before you remember, you have friends too. If you are deciding to host, have a plan. A plan is the difference between throwing caution to the wind and taking a calculated risk. Your plan can be having sanitizing stations before the buffet line and requiring masks before going near the food, having one tested individual plating the dishes, or even spreading the festivities out over the entire day so that everyone can spend some time with you, eat and head home. If you have a cozy home consider moving the festivities outdoors with a tent or booking a room at an event center. We won't lie. It will help you stay safe and your local business stay afloat. Find ways to practice social distancing and get creative with games. The proper precautions can do wonders.
Persevere : As a host, you have a duty to your family and friends to try and keep them safe. If you set rules, enforce them. Have a safety team in place to police it as this can be especially difficult with those who are adamant that COVID "does not exist" or "isn't that bad". If someone doesn't want to respect the rules you've put in place, see bullet number one. Remember the 6 foot rule and get creative with activities. The worst feeling in the world is knowing that one of your loved ones is struggling and knowing you contributed to it by not enforcing your own guidelines.
No Shame in Safety: As a host or a guest, if you see questionable conditions don't be afraid to excuse yourself or your family. Don't be mean, don't get sassy. There is no shame in keeping yourself and your family safe. If they are truly family and friends, they will understand.
Be honest: If you, a friend, or family member comes down with COVID let those who attended and may have come into contact with you or them know. Often times, early intervention helps save lives. While guests take a risk by coming to a function, those that they come into contact with afterwards didn't plan for this. The sad reality is that not everyone is going to make it to Christmas or New Years but we should do what we can to minimize those losses.
Be Thankful: Be thankful for the choices you have because there are those who don't have a choice at all. Every year essential employees go to work during the holiday. This year will be no different. They will be in those hospitals treating patients who also don't have a choice but to be there or in the trucks responding to emergencies or in those stores ringing you for that last minute cheesecake or on that phone getting people to safety while the world celebrates. So be thankful and do your best to stay safe.
From Our Family to Yours.
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1-800-799-7233 Dial 211